Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is indeed recognized as a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and it will qualify for both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if the impairment is severe enough to meet the government’s disability eligibility criteria.
At Liner Legal Disability Lawyers here in Ohio, we concentrate our legal practice on helping people like you with disabling physical or mental impairments. We understand how difficult it is to cope every day with the special challenge of living with a disability. Our goal is to relieve you of some of your burden by helping you to get the disability benefits you deserve.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life, functioning, and overall well-being. As such, PTSD can qualify individuals for disability benefits when it prevents a person from engaging in gainful employment for more than 12 months.
PTSD as a Disability:
PTSD is classified as a mental health disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is a widely accepted diagnostic manual used by mental health professionals. More importantly for purposes of disability benefits, PTSD is included as a listed disability in the Social Security Administration’s “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security” manual, commonly called “the Bluebook.”
The Bluebook is a list of physical and mental impairments that clearly qualify as disabilities under the SSA’s standard. The Bluebook listings detail the specific symptoms, manifestations, medical findings, or test results which must be present for a disability claimant’s case to meet the Bluebook criteria.
PTSD is characterized by symptoms such as intrusive thoughts, nightmares, avoidance of triggering situations, heightened anxiety, and changes in mood and behavior. The severity of symptoms can vary, ranging from mild to severe, and they can interfere with a person’s ability to work, engage in social activities, and maintain healthy relationships.
Disability Benefits for PTSD:
To apply a universal standard for disabilities, the SSA adopted a formal definition of “disability” which every disability claim must meet in order to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The SSA defines a disability as “a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that lasts or is expected to last 12 months (or result in death) and prevents the person from performing substantial gainful activities.”
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD)
SSDI is a federal program that provides financial assistance to individuals who have a long history of employment and who are unable to work due to a disability. Eligibility for SSD benefits usually requires a work history of 10 years during which the worker contributed funds to the SSDI pot through either payroll deductions or self-employment taxes.
Meeting the eligibility criteria and providing sufficient medical documentation is crucial to receiving SSDI benefits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The SSI disability benefits program does not require any previous work history, but it is a needs-based program open only to those with low income and limited available resources. Similar to SSDI, individuals with severe PTSD may qualify for SSI benefits if they meet the program’s eligibility criteria.
Veterans Affairs (VA) Disability Benefits: Veterans who developed PTSD due to their military service may be eligible for VA disability benefits. The VA recognizes PTSD as a service-connected condition, and veterans may receive compensation based on the severity of their symptoms.
Applying for Disability Benefits
Applying for disability benefits can be a complex process, involving medical documentation and assessments of the disability’s impact on daily life. When applying for benefits due to PTSD, it’s essential to provide comprehensive medical records, treatment history, and evidence of how the condition impairs your ability to work and engage in daily activities.
The law does not require SSDI or SSI claimants to use a lawyer when filing a disability claim. Still, your chances of being approved are significantly better if you work with a professional disability lawyer who fully understands the rules and regulations as they apply to your individual circumstances.
People who apply for Social Security Disability or SSI without professional help often find that they omitted a document or neglected to address an important issue that the SSA requires. These missing documents or overlooked issues cause claims to be delayed or even denied for lack of sufficient supporting evidence.
It’s important to note that not everyone with PTSD will automatically qualify for disability benefits. The severity of the condition and its impact on a person’s ability to work and function are significant factors in determining eligibility. Working with the most experienced disability lawyers you can find will give you the best possible chance of winning approval for your disability claim the first time.
PTSD is recognized as a disability, and individuals who experience significant impairment due to the condition may qualify for disability benefits. Seeking guidance from legal and medical professionals who specialize in disability claims can be invaluable in navigating the process and increasing the chances of securing the benefits needed to manage the challenges posed by PTSD.